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Dad With Terminal Cancer Walks 11-Year-Old Daughter Down the Aisle

When Jim Zetz, 62, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer last year, he contacted photographer Lindsey Villatoro to document his family in the time they had left together. Having three little girls herself, Villatoro was especially touched by how young Zetz's 11-year-old daughter, Josie, would be when she loses her father. And from there, an unforgettable idea was born.

With Josie's birthday soon approaching, Villatoro really wanted to do something special for the family. She tells Today, “I have an 11-year-old, so I basically just thought, if her dad wasn’t here, what would she want? And I just thought about Josie being at her wedding in 20 years, and all of a sudden this video pops up and it's this little girl in an oversized wedding dress [walking down the aisle] with her dad.”

With the help and approval of Josie's mother, Villatoro organized the surprise wedding in just three short days. On March 28, the day after her birthday, Josie was let in on the plan. According to Villatoro, she was initially overwhelmed but realized how much it would mean to her father and agreed.

The emotional "ceremony" was officiated by Pastor Gary Galbraith, who told Josie, "Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today," and announced them "daddy and daughter."

Jim told ABC News. “It was not easy to do, let me tell you, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. ... In 20 years, when she really gets married, she’s going to be happy that happened.”

And in the meantime, we're all still wiping away our tears.

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Photo via Lindsey Villatoro/Love Song Photography

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